Canon G3 X vs Sony RX1
The Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2015 and September 2012. Both the G3X and the RX1 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (G3X) and a full frame (RX1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G3 X and the Sony RX1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Canon G3 X. Moreover, the RX1 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the G3X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the G3X is splash and dust resistant, while the RX1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
Concerning battery life, the G3X gets 300 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the RX1 can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|2.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|3.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|7.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|8.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|9.||Sony RX10 III||133 mm||94 mm||127 mm||1051 g||420||Y||Mar 2016||1,499|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|11.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|12.||Sony RX10 II||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||400||Y||Jun 2015||1,299|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|15.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|16.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||n||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G3X was launched at a markedly lower price (by 64 percent) than the RX1, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G3 X features an one-inch sensor and the Sony RX1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1 is 634 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24MP, the RX1 offers a higher resolution than the G3X (20MP), but the RX1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 2.41μm for the G3X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G3X is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the RX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G3 X are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon PowerShot G3 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1 offers substantially better image quality than the G3X (overall score 30 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.7 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|2.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|5.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|9.||Sony RX10 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.1||12.6||472||70|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|11.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|12.||Sony RX10 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||531||70|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|15.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G3X and the RX1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF-DC1 for the G3X and the FDA-EV1MK for the RX1 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G3 X and Sony RX1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Sony RX10 III||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||14.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|12.||Sony RX10 II||2359||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||14.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|15.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3X has a touchscreen, while the RX1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G3X has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the RX1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The G3X is equipped with a zoom lens, while the RX1 comes with a built-in prime. The G3X has a 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 optic and the RX1 offers a 35mm f/2.0 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Sony. The RX1 offers the faster maximum aperture.
The G3X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The G3X supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G3 X and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony RX10 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony RX10 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony RX10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G3X offers wifi support, while the RX1 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The G3X is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the RX1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX1 was succeeded by the Sony RX1R. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G3 X or the Sony RX1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G3 X:
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1229k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (300 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (64 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the RX1 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (30 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 123x77mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 251g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3X is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 11 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G3 X and the Sony RX1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G3X or the RX1 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|2.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|3.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|7.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|8.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|9.||Sony RX10 III||5/5||+||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2016||1,499|
|10.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|11.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|12.||Sony RX10 II||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||1,299|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|15.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|16.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|17.||Sony NEX-7||5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon G3 X vs Sony RX1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon G3 X||Sony RX1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||24-600mm f/2.8-5.6||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||June 2015||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony RX1|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||93|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||25.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||521||2534|
|Screen Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony RX1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony RX1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony RX1|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon G3 X||Sony RX1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
123 x 77 x 105 mm
(4.8 x 3.0 x 4.1 in)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||733 g (25.9 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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